Linking Branding and Thought Leadership Initiatives to Sales

Anna Ritchie : Community Maven
Anna Ritchie
Marketing & communications practitioner, and product manager for TMCnet. Focus on content marketing and social media with a specialty in Online Community-building for businesses. Follow @Connectincloud and @apritchie
| Expertise and Advice on Successful Online Communities

Linking Branding and Thought Leadership Initiatives to Sales

From the recent Podcast, “No One Buys Without Trust”: Linking Thought Leadership & Branding to Sales through Online Communities. Listen to the full Podcast Here.  

Rich Tehrani, CEO of TMCnet, recently sat down with Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO for the second installment of their Online Communities Podcast series.  Recently, I wrote about part of this Podcast that covered the need to balance the desire to advertise with the need to be perceived as a thought leader.

Here’s some additional insight from the Podcast about how to link your branding efforts to lead generation and sales.

Getting Your Customers to You

A common challenge in marketing is getting to the right people, at the right place, at the right time. Search marketing is arguably one of the top ways to meet this goal; since Google gets 31 billion searches every month, people are obviously going online to find information when they need it. You have the “right audience” and the “right time” bases covered: Now all you need is the right place that will bridge their search with your product and lead to sales.

An Online Community is one of the best ways to get your brand and thought leadership initiatives in front of customers when they are looking for it. By generating content that gets picked up on Google search engines, people will be directed to your Community again and again, and likely bookmark it for future use.

Now, everyone’s goal for their Online Community varies.  If your goal is to market your brand, then you will likely want to have a lot of content on the site that will get shared virally that is surrounded by your company messaging. If your goal is to maximize the number of leads the community may collect, then you may want to consider gating certain content elements.  

How to Gate Content

A common question we get asked is “What content should I gate?”. There needs to be a fair balance of what content does and does not get gated on your Community. If you gate all of your content then you risk having a lot less people looking at it because it won’t get spread or seen. You need to build trust with your audience first, and without trust they won’t feel comfortable entering their contact information to receive a piece of your content. Community owners need to come up with a way to share the maximum amount of content to people while also approaching visitors with coupons, white paper downloads, webinars and videos. In other words, your Online Community should generate excitement about what your company has to offer so that visitors will be more likely to volunteer their personal information and make that transition from someone who is learning about your company to a lead and potential sale.

Problems Closing Sales?

Even after a massive lead generation campaign, some companies experience frustration in being unable to close sales. The challenge is that even if a customer signs up for a Webinar or downloads your White Paper, they might not necessarily have enough trust in you to buy. And how to you gain that trust? It all comes back to the branding.

People will likely buy from companies with a brand they recognize. If you have spent the right effort on establishing yourself as a thought leader and promoting your brand then you are building trust with potential customers that you can’t gain elsewhere.  People expect you to make investments in them before they feel comfortable buying from you.  Trust between two people, or between a company and customers, has to be built and earned. You want to “build a tribe” of followers who believe in you and trust in you. And even if it’s not a massive tribe, it’s a loyal tribe who will come to you again and again for the services and products you offer.  Using an Online Community to gather members for your tribe and provide your members with useful information is one of the best ways to reach your audience, gain trust and loyalty with people and promote your thought leadership and branding messages.

To learn more: 

-          Listen the full Podcast, click here.

-          Listen to Part 1 in the Online Community Podcast Series,” 9 Minutes of SEO”, click here.

-          Register for our upcoming FREE educational Webinar Series about how to build an Online Community that increases profitability for your business.

Or Contact Anna Ritchie for more information.  

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